GameCentral readers discuss the rise of games as a service and how many they play at once, from Overwatch to Rainbow Six Siege.
The subject for this weeks Hot Topic was suggested by reader Anton, who wanted to tackle one of the big buzzwords of the moment: games as a service – any game which is constantly updated with the intention of keeping you playing for months and years to come.
We wanted to know how you find the time to play more the one and whether you thought the concept was a fair one. Many seemed to think it was, although very few admitted to playing more than one or two at once.
For me this is one of the biggest worries in how the games industry is handling itself at the moment. Games as a service is the big new buzzword at the moment, but compared to a lot of the ones weve had before its not necessarily a bad thing at all. It jus means a game that keeps updating itself and thats absolutely fine and obviously desirable if its multiplayer.
The problem with games as a service is that most people can only play one or two at a time with any sort of dedication, and no publisher seems well to recognise that their game might not be the one. So while you can have multiple games in other genres come out all at once and it doesnt make any difference it doesnt matter if theres a 100 great game as a service titles out at once, you still only have time for one or two of them.
Which means an awful lot of games are going to fall by the wayside and probably a lot of developers are going to go bust. Weve seen this happen before with the rush to make MMOs and as usual nobody seems to have learnt anything. The only option is to let nature take its course and publishers to learn the hard way.
For the record though, I really enjoy Destiny 2. Especially after Forsaken.
No questions asked
Im glad this came out because I absolutely love Splatoon 2 and I dont think it gets nearly enough recognition for its excellent content updates, which definitely classify it as a game as a service. All of them are free and it doesnt have any microtransactions of any kind (just a single-player expansion DLC, which is also great).
Its not even that, unlike the original, it didnt have much content at launch. It was fine in that regard but its piled on the maps, modes, weapons, and clothes ever since and I always find it dragging me back in for other game.
This for me is how games as a service should work and while Nintendo might not be making any money out of me past the initial payout it convinced to me buy the DLC and will ensure I get the next game no questions asked.
The only game I play semi-regularly online is Battlefield. That has been the case since Battlefield 2 on the PC. These days it is Battlefield 1 on the Xbox One and I only play that because I got it free with Xbox Live Gold. Years ago I played Minecraft but that fell out of favour. For a few weeks I was playing 7 Days To Die but that became stale and I quit until the alpha 17 patch came out, which it did a few days ago so I might just head back to that.
The best times online were probably when we had a crew for Saints Row online. It was an ugly glitch and cheat-filled mess but it was so much fun playing the Blinged Out Ride mode that you could see past the mess. Second to that would probably be Battlefield: Bad Company 2. reat game, great controls – hoping for a third game soon.
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I probably play Destiny 2 more, to be honest, but instead Id like to talk about Ghost Recon: Wildlands which probably uses the concept of games as a service better because its not a very good game and yet it still keeps drawing me back. The base game is fine but very shallow, with a pretty boring open world.
But to Ubisofts credit theyve released so many special modes, events, and extra equipment that Im always interested in whats going on. There was a reader asking about doing a Predator game recently but Wildlands has already had a Predator mode and it worked really well. They keep doing stuff like that, having fun with a game that on its own isnt that memorable.
I think that kind of proves the potential of games a service in general, because if you can do that with a mediocre the potential for expanding a great one is unlimited.
I never really thought of it this way but I guess Overwatch is the one I play the most. Its pretty much the classic games as service as theres no separate DLC or expansions, just constant new characters and maps that you never pay for. Instead its riddled with microtransactions for cosmetic extras that I can never see the point of (its a first person game, you cant even see yourself!) but apparently pay for everything.
I really cant see a problem with it, although I dont think you can really have more than two or three on the go at once. Ive also been playing Black Ops 4 a lot lately and thats kind of edge out Overwatch a lot, as well as Destiny 2 – although I was kind of getting bored of that anyway.
I dont know what that means for Overwatchs profits if everyone is doing the same thing but to be honest thats not really my problem. If these things were subscriptions I dont know if Id be paying for them but for me the microtransactions model works fine, because Im basically getting everything for free.
Im still playing World Of Warcraft, which I guess mustve been one of the first games as a service, long before some ad man made up the term. I usually get board of online shooters and the like pretty quickly but Warcraft Ive been playing on and off for over a decade now.
I mean, when I say off there was a period of about five years where I never touched it, but it always seems to drag me back, either with a new expansion or if Ive heard about it in the news for some reason. Great game and I dont see it ever going away really.
Value for money
Theres only one game that comes to mind which I regularly play that Id class as games as a service and that would be Rainbow Six Siege. Ive been playing since launch back in 2015 and three years later have accumulated over 240 hours of total playtime, so Id say Ive got my moneys worth out of it. That might not seem like a lot of time over three years, though Ive had periods of time where Ive not played and then times when I spend weeks playing nothing but it. However, its always been the one multiplayer title I always go back to and dont regret it.
It helps that the game received regular content updates by way of seasons, four for each year with each introducing two new operators as well as one new map or rework of an existing map. The next season for the game launches in approximately two weeks and will close out three years of continuous content updates, totalling 24 operators and nine maps having been added since it originally released. Whats more the maps are available for everyone to play on for free with the operators available to unlock using in-game currency which is awarded by completing matches and through daily challenges.
Thats precisely why Ill continue to play it going forward, as long as Ubisoft continue to release regular content updates as well as maintenance releases which include bug fixes and balancing changes then Ill continue to support the title going forward. Whats more its refreshing having that Ubisoft actually listen and act on feedback from the community, with the recent proposed aesthetic changes to the game to meet the censorship requirements to release the game in China having been reneged following strong criticism and push back from the community.
It hasnt completely taken up my time for other titles, Im primarily a single-player gamer and I continue to spend the majority of my gaming time with those games however whenever I feel like playing online Ill always go back to Rainbow Six. When done right and with regular, continuous support, as well as community engagement, I believe games as a service can be done well. Though for me personally I could only ever really have one on the go at any one time, but for now and the foreseeable future Ill be sticking with Rainbow Six and with 35 million players as of three months ago and growing. Im sure plenty of people feel the same way.
BR-Rangzeb (PSN ID) (formerly known as moham-24)
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